July 13, 2018 Brethren Letter
Tonight, I’m going to send a small portion of a letter written to the brethren in 1974 by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. The article Mr. Armstrong refers to was also published in the May, 1974 issue of the Good News magazine. If you wish to read the entire article, it can be found in that issue.
Have a wonderful Sabbath, everyone!
Your Brother in Christ,
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG
PRESIDENT and PASTOR
February 21, 1974
Dear Brethren of God’s Church:
I have just completed what I feel is the most important article (in letter form) to God’s people in a year, or probably ever, because it sets forth as never before why God has called and put us in His Church NOW, instead of later. I ask you to read every word very carefully, then read it again — and STILL AGAIN when it comes out in the May issue of The Good News.
Satan is attacking against you and against the Living Christ and His Work. Your eternal life may depend on thoroughly understanding this!
WITH GREAT LOVE, in Jesus’ name,
Herbert W. Armstrong
God’s Church Today
Now we come down to ourselves in God’s Church today.
In the autumn of 1926 God called me. For sixteen years I had been specially prepared for it. I was challenged into intensive study and research into the Bible. I was astonished — shocked — to see that the “Christianity” I had been brought up in was almost the antithesis of the Christianity of Christ and His Apostles. Against my will, as it had been at the time, I had to acknowledge I had been wrong about God’s Sabbath.
That was the beginning of learning God’s TRUTH. It was like a sudden awakening to a whole NEW WORLD. I was impelled to keep on studying. My complete surrender to God, His Law, His Word, His Will changed my whole life. I was baptized and received God’s Holy Spirit. It was a total NEW AWAKENING — A NEW LIFE. Now for the first time God opened my mind to understand the Bible.
The intensive study became my life. My conversion was in the spring of 1927. In 1931 I was ordained by the Oregon Conference of the Church of God. After many tests lasting seven years from my conversion, God chose me as His instrument to raise up the present era of His Church, to proclaim His GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD to the world and to feed the flock which He was to put in His Church.
The END TIME Was Here!
This proved to be the start of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Matthew 24:14.
But the Gospel was not to go to all the world right away. First, radio opened in the smallest way at the start. The first week in January, 1934, the true Gospel — the KINGDOM OF GOD — went out to reach perhaps a few thousand people in the northwest corner of the United States — in Lane County, Oregon. The PLAIN TRUTH started February 1, 1934 with the
VERY SMALLEST circulation — just a few hundred copies. By late 1942, we were reaching a scattered national group of listeners and readers. Not important national leaders — all just the “grass-roots” common people.
Gradually Jesus Christ, the living HEAD of this Work, called more and more of you brethren as Co-Workers with Him and with me in proclaiming this GOOD NEWS of Christ’s GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. The Work, on radio and by the printing press, grew. It spread to reach many MILLIONS over the United States, Canada, and Australia. Still God called only a comparative very small minority to conversion — at this time!
But when it came to getting God’s LAST MESSAGE out to ALL THE WORLD as a witness, we were blocked. I could not buy time on radio in Britain, nor in France, Germany, Scandinavia, nor in Russia, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, nor other countries around the world.
We Were Blocked
Governments in those nations — in nearly all nations CONTROL radio, television, and the means of reaching their people! They try to CONTROL the minds and thinking and teaching of their peoples!
I tried buying radio time in a few little countries adjoining France, Germany, Belgium, India, Russia, and China. But results were ALMOST NIL — almost NO RESPONSE. We simply could not reach the MILLIONS in these big nations that way.
Stupendous Doors Open
Now, at last, after 40 years of building toward it, the living Christ has opened STUPENDOUS NEW DOORS for getting HIS MESSAGE into the nations whose doors, those 40 years, were closed!
In all these HUGE POPULATION NATIONS — China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh, the nations of western Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America — God is opening doors AT THE VERY TOP!
He has already given me almost unbelievable FAVOR and CREDIBILITY in the eyes of those at the very TOP of many nations. And the number of nations conferring this unusual grace and favor upon me personally continues to GROW and EXPAND into more and more nations month by month!
I know of nothing like it ever before in history — unless it was in the days of the prophet Elijah.
Elijah Went to Kings
God had hid Elijah from King Ahab of Israel — first by the brook Cherith, fed by the ravens, then in the house of the widow in Zarephath. Finally, God told Elijah in the third year to go to King Ahab. In the way Elijah met Obadiah, governor of the king’s palace, who greatly feared God. Elijah told Obadiah to go tell King Ahab Elijah had come.
But Obadiah feared for his life! He said, “As the Eternal thy God liveth, there is NO NATION OR KINGDOM whither my lord [King Ahab] hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not” (I Kings 18:10).
Ahab’s servants did not inquire or take an oath of the sheep- herders, farmers, or common people. Obviously, Ahab’s men went directly to the KING of each nation, indicating that Elijah was known to the kings of the earth in his day.
And now, PUBLIC APPEARANCE CAMPAIGNS are planned already in THREE nations, sponsored by officials high in the governments of these nations. Already I have gotten the MESSAGE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD to audiences of 55 to 100 of each nation’s LEADERS in banquets or dinners in India, Japan, Thailand, South Vietnam, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.
This is positively miraculous! It is GOD’S DOING!
God had a SPECIAL MISSION for His first-century apostles — giving personal eyewitness proof of the RESURRECTION of Christ, as well as proclaiming the Good News of the KINGDOM OF GOD.
From then until 1934, the Church existed, comparatively small in number, persecuted, unable to proclaim the KINGDOM OF GOD to the world.
WHY You Are Called NOW
But now, once again, there is a dynamic, super-important SPECIAL COMMISSION — to proclaim the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM in all the world as a witness to ALL NATIONS, just before the END OF THIS AGE — and also to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming!
And, just as God caused His Church in the first century to GROW RAPIDLY, even to MULTIPLY in numbers (until the persecution set in) — to BACK THE APOSTLES, support them financially, support them by fervent prayers — EVEN SO God caused His Church of our day to GROW at the phenomenal rate of 30% a year, multiplying itself in numbers eight times in eight years — 64 times in 16 years, 4,096 times in 32 years — and maintain that rate of growth over a 35-year span in OUR TIME.
WHY? — to make possible and to support this very SPECIAL DYNAMIC COMMISSION FOR OUR DAY (Matthew 24:14)!!
We are called, NOW, for a VERY, VERY special commission!
BUT WHY YOU?
Prophecy for Second Coming
Let’s look a little further into Malachi’s prophecy about God sending Christ with this MESSAGE. It’s in Malachi 3, beginning in verse 1: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Eternal of hosts.”
In Mark 1:2, in Luke 1:17, in Matthew 11:10 and elsewhere, this first messenger preparing the way for Christ is referred to as John the Baptist. But in a greater sense it refers to a Work to be done preparing the way for the Second Coming of Christ NOW, in our time!
Read the next verse — Malachi 3:2:
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” The Moffatt translation makes the meaning a little sharper: “for he is like the fire of smelters and the acid used by fullers.”
Continuing: “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver …. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not, saith the Eternal of hosts” (through verse 5).
This is NOT speaking of Christ’s first coming, more than 1900 years ago! It is NOT speaking primarily of John the Baptist, who was only as one preparing the way before Jesus’ first coming over 1900 years ago.
Primarily it is speaking of one to prepare the way before Christ’s SECOND COMING, now, today, IN OUR TIME! It is speaking of things Christ will do when He comes in all POWER and AUTHORITY to RULE ALL NATIONS!
Does the full significance of that sink into your consciousness?
Now notice Luke 1:17. It is speaking, again, of John the Baptist — but only TYPICALLY of one preparing the way for the SECOND COMING, NOW, at the END of this age.
Notice it! “And he shall go before Him [Christ] in the power and spirit of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
God’s way of Preparing Us
And God has set before us HIS WAY of preparing us — by GROWING in spiritual character, in grace and the knowledge of Christ, ready for our part in the Kingdom, reigning under Christ!
It would have been utterly IMPOSSIBLE for me to carry out this great commission alone. THAT is why God has called YOU now, instead of later, in the Millennium! And this great WORK OF GOD is THE WAY God has set before us for each to GROW and develop SPIRITUALLY. God’s WAY — that of HIS LAW — is the way of GIVING, not getting. Those who try to simply GET their salvation are in danger of losing it!
God’s WORK is a work of GIVING — GIVING the GOSPEL of the KINGDOM OF GOD. In 40 years I have observed that ONLY those whose hearts are in this great Work are themselves growing spiritually.
I have mentioned how the early Church GREW and MULTIPLIED in those God added to the Church. But soon the persecution came. Soon the false preachers came, with the different gospel — a different spirit. They came fomenting a spirit of criticism — of DOUBT! They came saying Jesus’ true apostles were preaching WRONG DOCTRINES.
They said to people: “Peter, and Paul, and those apostles won’t admit they are teaching erroneous doctrines. Look how many are FALLING AWAY from them. Their credibility is at an all-time low. Don’t follow them — forsake them and the Gospel they are proclaiming, and COME OVER WITH US.”
Yes, brethren, and THOUSANDS DID — TO THEIR OWN ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION IN THE LAKE OF FIRE!
Look at the Fruits
But LOOK AT THE FRUITS! The work of the original apostles BORE THE TRUE FRUITS!
The Worldwide Church of God has always produced the GOOD fruits — ABUNDANT fruits. It is the ONLY Work in 1850 years that has proclaimed the true Gospel of Christ — the Gospel OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD to the world – now GOING TO THE ENTIRE WORLD!
Prophecy says the END will not come until, also, there is a “falling away” first!
Jesus’ parable (Luke 19:11-24) is for OUR TIME, now! It pertains to Christ going to heaven to receive the Kingdom officially and then returning. The “pounds” (English money) represent the SPIRITUAL GOODS Christ has entrusted to each of us now, while He is in heaven. When He returns, He will demand of each of us to show how we have used the GIFT of His Holy Spirit — how much we have CONTRIBUTED to His Work — the PURPOSE for which He put us in His Church NOW! He will demand of each of us to show how much we have grown spiritually in the way of GOD’S LAW — the way of
CONTRIBUTING AND GIVING. Those who prove disloyal or drop out of the Work — THE ONLY PURPOSE FOR WHICH YOU WERE CALLED NOW — will find themselves in the position of the one described in verses 20 and 24. They will lose the very salvation they were trying to GET!
You are each admonished to “make your calling and election SURE!”
Today, as in the time of the first apostles, MANY DECEIVERS are gone out into the world. They will ACCUSE God’s Church and His Work. It is Satan the devil who is the accuser of the true brethren (Rev. 12:10).
As it was in the first century — the days of the original apostles, when the Church was MULTIPLYING itself in membership (Acts 6:1) — so is it destined to be NOW! Before Jesus answered His disciples as to WHEN the END of the age and His return would come, He warned them against FALSE MINISTERS, deceiving the many. If possible, He said, they would deceive the VERY ELECT — YOU in God’s Church.
As the Apostle Paul warned the elders at Ephesus, “For I know this, that … grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also OF YOUR OWN SELVES [the ministers in God’s Church] shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore WATCH”! (Acts 20:29-31.)
Brethren, could this BE God’s true Church, and such things not happen to us? This sort of thing DID HAPPEN to God’s TRUE CHURCH in the very first century. They only PROVE this is GOD’S Church which He is USING and blessing! But SATAN IS ANGRY. Satan deceives even some from within us. They will falsely accuse. They will MISLEAD with false doctrines which they will palm off as TRUTH!
As in the days of the Apostle John, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (I John 2:19).
Among the false teachers accusing and trying to mislead the Church as Satan’s ministers, described in the eleventh chapter of II Corinthians, were “FALSE BRETHREN.”
Dear brethren, this could not BE God’s true Church, through which HE is carrying on HIS TRUE WORK, unless Satan managed to inject some such in God’s Church TODAY.
MUCH of the New Testament is WARNING God’s people of these snares of Satan to hinder — to attempt to DESTROY the very Work of GOD — the very Work which is THE REASON God has called you NOW — before He undertakes to SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD!
The Fruits Prove It
Remember, Jesus taught us to LOOK TO THE FRUITS BORNE!
Are they who falsely accuse — who seek to draw a following away from God’s Church for selfish purpose — PROCLAIMING THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD? Are they fulfilling the PURPOSE for which God has called us NOW? NONE but THIS VERY WORK of the LIVING GOD is fulfilling that PURPOSE — bearing the FRUITS.
Finally, brethren, do you realize how THANKFUL, GRATEFUL, HAPPY and JOYFUL you and I should be that the Mighty God looked down from heaven and selected YOU and me to be called to salvation NOW, before the time, that He might USE US as His human instruments in GETTING HIS MESSAGE TO THIS ENTIRE WORLD — preparing THE WAY for the coming of HIS KINGDOM on earth to END the nightmarish evils, agonies, sufferings, violence, wars and injustices on earth?
When I go before kings, presidents, emperors, prime ministers, and the LEADERS of many nations, I go and am received as AN AMBASSADOR FOR WORLD PEACE. I go before them not only as GOD’S representative, but also as YOURS.
I go in Satan’s great disfavor — in Satan’s eyes and those he has deceived into being used AGAINST the Work of the living God, with no credibility. But in GOD’S EYES, and in the eyes of the nations’ leaders, I go with great FAVOR, THE HIGHEST CREDIBILITY, and in high HONOR!
THAT’S the reason for THIS WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD — FOR THIS WORK OF GOD — the most SERIOUS — the MOST IMPORTANT MISSION ON EARTH IN 1900 YEARS!
Let’s put our hearts and fervent PRAYERS into God’s Work as NEVER BEFORE!